Some Neat Things at a Pull-off Stop

Featured

We found this place where I had stopped a few years ago. You could pull off the road but there was a gate that stopped vehicles from going to the lake, so we walked a short bit to get to the water. There has been camping here but maybe the gate is to dissuade people from doing so.

Nice to see the rosehips are ripening
A neat Heart-shaped rock that I left behind for others to see.
A curious but shy Chipmunk came to inspect us
Catching a wave
A bit hazy across the lake this time it is rain rather than smoke
This is a good spot to view Windy Point from the south. Yes, this is the same photo from my Windy Point post.
Closer to where we are standing, the water is high.
Before we left I stopped to take a photo of this critter. I have no idea what it is.

Preacher’s Point

This is a place where people come to do random camping just finding their own spot. Some people have been disrespectful to the land, leaving garbage or tearing up the terrain with RV’s, but did see some new outhouses so that took care of the problem of people defecating where ever they felt like going.

I have been here in the winter as well, to take photos of the bubbles and the sun as it rises up over the mountains.

This time it was hazy where it was raining in the not-too-far-distance. The water of Abraham Lake was high and many parts of the campground was flooded.

Preacher’s Point Campground furthest away from the lake
Looking towards the river or lake. I don’t know at what point the river becomes a lake.
This is where the North Saskatchewan River gets wider and becomes the lake. Misty Mountains in the distance.
Looking south where you can see flooding across the river.
We are in the campground beside the river here.
The deepest that we have ever seen the water
Most of the flooding is bad on the north side of the grounds.
Took time to zoom in on the mountains
Across the lake from the campground at Preacher’s Point.
Sorry, I don’t know the names of the peaks.

Stop at Cline River

Featured

Further along the highway beside Abraham Lake is a bridge that goes over Cline River. It is a nice stop , but watch for oncoming cars. I liked the combination of fall foliage and turquoise river. I was going to go back another day to take photos from the middle of the bridge, but a 44 km drive each way did not appeal to me.

Loved the colour of the river here. There were camping sites beside the river, which, like the lake ,is high.
Pretty, and pretty flooded.

One more shot peaking through the trees, as the rain was picking up.

The other thing that captivated me here were the rays of sun coming through the clouds. We were getting a bit of rain, but not enough to stop us from getting out of the car.

Ominous sky starting to clear, letting the sun stream through.
Looks like a heart to me, a promise of things to come.
It was amazing that we weren’t getting soaked.

Reflecting Ponds

Featured

We had to stop to take photos of these ponds-great reflections. We did not see a bird but heard some sort of a whistle that we both thought could have been an eagle. Just a little way north of Cline river

A ghostly quiet except for the call of a suspected unseen eagle.
The beginning of fall colours framing the side of the pond
Roadside Calm
More reflections-worth the stop.

Windy Point’s Nooks and Crannies

Featured

There are big views, and small views. I love coming here to play, and appreciate. First, some of the big views.

Michener Mountain to the left looking south to hazy skies
Often I have walked on the rocks that are now under water.
Looking southwest where we will be heading after this .
Lots of rocks and textures to explore.
rocks and gullies
I like the little compositions within the bigger compositions.
Trees that hung on in the wind and flooded islands in the distance
Peninsula now half-submerged
Tree hanging on by the roots. A true survivor.
Close-up of the tree above
Tenacious Cinquefoil
Hare’s Bell or Blue Bell
A Lone Tree
Water on the Rocks
Miniature Rock Scape-a scene within a scene

Do you see why I keep coming back? We continue on down the highway beside Abraham Lake.

Abraham Lake

Featured

The first time I saw Abraham Lake in 2011 I was amazed at the rich turquoise colour. The colour changes according to the silt, the light in the sky and the time of day. We noticed at every stop the water was a different colour.

Abraham Lake is man-made, 32 km long with a dam at one end and comes off of the North Saskatchewan river from the mountains. It is named after Silas Abraham, of the Stoney tribe. It is the largest water reservoir in Alberta. It can get vey turbulent and is not safe to swim or boat in. It is famous for the bubbles in winter time caused from methane gas from vegetation.

Abraham Lake Methane bubbles taken Feb 2011

Now it is warmer and no ice cleats are needed. our first stop along the lake was at the pull-off at Michener Point . Here I am facing northeast where you can see Baldy and Coliseum Mountains. A lot of trees are under water. I heard that the people in this area opened the dam to let some of the water down stream. It sure was the highest level I have ever seen.

Abraham lake created when Calgary Power built the Bighorn Dam.
Michener Point named after a past Governor General of Canada 1967-1974
The highway from Michener Point pull-off. Getting cloudy, probably rain ahead. Next stop is Windy Point, to the left just before the cut rocks
Abraham Lake from Windy Point

One of the people we met said ” Not much to see here” but this is where we spent most of our time, exploring the lake scenes from three sides of the peninsula, the wind-blown trees, textures, the water hitting the rocks, and the plants. The Rocky Mountain Sheep did not show up here today, but often do. Sometimes this location lives up to its name, so windy that you have to hang on to the rocks for dear life to prevent yourself and equipment from being blown over but today was relatively mild. Next post will be all about Windy point.

Bighorn Gorge and Crescent Falls

I was surprisingly busy last week, so just getting back to talking about my trip now. First stop on our second day was Crescent Falls. Crescent Falls Campground is in Crescent Falls Provincial Recreation Area located 22 km west of Nordegg on Hwy. 11 and 6 km north on a gravel access road. Part way to the falls is a small parking lot where there is a lookout over the Bighorn gorge. There is a trail on the right side of the parking lot that will lead you to the view of the double falls after a 2.5 km walk. I will have the pictures and memories from the past because I can’t walk that far now.

Crescent Falls photo taken in 2011
Crescent Falls from trail that starts at the lookout
Bighorn River from the lookout
My friend Maxine waving to me from an adjacent lookout
A wide view of the Bighorn Gorge taken with my tablet.

After stopping at the gorge lookout we drove to the day camping area beside the falls.

Crescent Falls at the day-use area. I took this using a tripod.
The top of the second falls
Close-up of the upper Falls which I took by hand using the fence as a tripod

Often people sit right at the top of the falls or swim below the first set of falls which you often see in the tourist ads but some have been overcome by the strong currents and gone over the second falls to their death. It is slippery here and I stay safely behind the fences where I can still enjoy the energy and coolness. I have been here a few times and it is always different because of the depth of the water, the silt which makes it blue-green.

There are some restrictions about where you can park and for how long because of Covid, so check online before you go. It was nice to be here after Labour Day weekend when the crowds are gone. We saw just a few people , including a couple that we kept seeing at every stop we took, and a group of rangers.

First Evening at Fish Lake

Featured

First, I want to start this post with a note of relief that I went on my little vacation when I did, because as of yesterday, restrictions have returned to Alberta. Our Covid numbers, specifically the Delta variant, have sky-rocketed and restaurants will be only doing take-out, so moving around, gathering in groups and travel may be a lot more difficult. The province regrets that they will be issuing vaccination cards as proof of vaccines to give those who have been double-vaccinated a little more freedom and perhaps give those who are not vaccinated a little more incentive to do so. God bless our front line workers and healthcare staff in hospitals who are dealing with burnout and a surge of patients while being under-staffed. 70% of surgeries in Edmonton have been cancelled as ICU space is filling up to capacity and beyond. Be kind, people. Now, back to the vacation.

After we checked in to our rooms we drove 6 kilometers west then south to Fish Lake Recreational Area at about 7:30p.m. There are four loops of camping spaces but we went right to the lake which has a few camping spots and day use area. There is a dock here right beside the parking lot and a boat ramp for non-motorized boats. A lot of people, go figure, like to fish here. I asked one gentleman what he had caught , and it was a rainbow trout. I have swam off the dock in the past but it would too cold now.

Days are getting shorter and the light is pleasant at this time of evening. Looking toward the south side of the lake.

We crossed a small dam on the north side of the lake to follow a path that goes all the way around. We were chased by some curious company. I used my walker and had little problem negotiating the trail on this side.
Nice reflections from this side at this time of evening. That is the T-shaped dock, ahem, that is blown out, with 2 benches. Another benefit are the benches on the trail, a nice spot to sit and enjoy the sights and sounds. As a person with mobility issues, I love those benches.
Nice hues coming out.
Two geese flew overhead. There are a pair of resident Osprey and a Loon with a younger offspring. but my images are not good.
The view of the other side of the lake from one of the benches.
Looking down the path we are on,
A Common Loon swam by not too far in front of us. A real treat.
8:13 p.m. Watching the colours
Nice sunset.
Last shot of the evening

After taking a few photos of the lake and sunset, we returned to the hotel dining room to have some fish and chips. well-cooked crisp fries, tasty coleslaw and 2 pieces of battered fish that was a tad cold in the middle but instead of complaining, I ate around the middle. I was tired after 4 hours of driving and it was good to have a warm bath and cuddle under a thick comforter while thinking about where we were going the next day: Cresent Falls and Abraham Lake.

Beaver Pond

Featured

After leaving my friend’s house, this was our first stop. Just a little place off the road but pretty, and peaceful.

I did take photos here and also took the time to “fire” my bear spray, which was way beyond its expiry date. I pointed downwind, and it was forceful sounding, but sprayed for only about ten feet feet. Hmmm, will get some new spray but at least this is the first time I ever used it and think it is important to practice. I feel less fearful now about using bear spray but would rather not see any bears at all other than from a car.

I did take photos here as well as had a snack and drink. You can see the rolling hills and mountains in the distance.

The view from the parking lot. Fall colours starting to appear.
There was a little path leading to the right. and this is what I saw.
Path to the left to a tiny waterfall.
Lovely trees and reflections
A bit challenging shooting into the light, but moving a few feet one way or the other helped.

It wasn’t too much further to the town, where we checked into the hotel, had a bite to eat and in the early evening we took a quick trip to Fish Lake a few minutes down the road.

Intimate Landscapes

Featured

As I shared with some of you previously, I was due to go on a vacation, maybe overdue. I tried to go on a vacation in August but could not find a car to rent anywhere! A lot of companies has sold off some of their fleets and it was hard for them to buy new cars due to a lack of computer chips, as well as the fact that cars had been booked by people on vacations from out-of-province.

It was extremely hot in August , or rainy and cold, so I didn’t miss much not being able to go at that time, but I hit a good week in September, weather-wise, car-wise and hotel-wise. I had considered going to Jasper again, as I did last year, but the prices had tripled at most locations, so decided on another favourite spot in Central Alberta, the town of Nordegg. Nordegg is an old mining town in the foothills with three restaurants, horsebackriding, museum, beautiful lakes and rolling hills. Not too much to do in town but there are gift shops and lots of hiking trails in all directions.

A bonus was when I wrote a friend to ask if I could drop in to see her on the way there, or if we could meet, and she replied that the timing was perfect as she had been planning to go to this area, was free and decided to rent a room for two days. I met her at her place and she led the way as we both drove our own vehicles. Of course there was a stop on the way. I had never been to Beaver Pond so was happy to see this place for the first time. It was a pretty, peaceful stop just off the road with a small lake and picnic tables.

We had a glorious two days of exploring, photographing and catching up on news, as well as enjoying the food at the two restaurants in town.

Stumps intrigue me with their lines, the new environment that grows from and around them, including the grasses, lichen and moss.

Here, I liked how the trunk was highlighted by the back light at Beaver Pond. A pleasant peaceful rest stop with picnic tables.
Seen at Fish Lake, I liked the composition here, with the grasses and plants with their fall colours.
Fish Lake again, I liked the starkness, the reflections and contrast.
We walked a little way around Fish Lake in the early evening where the light was right and there were lots of intriguing little settings.
Again, early evening and an old rotting trunk with lichen and moss.
The longest day was spent travelling along Abraham Lake where we stopped at many points. I saw this stump at Windy Point and loved the lines in the wood.
The morning after my friend Maxine returned home, I visited Gold Eye lake about a half hour drive west of Nordegg.
Great stump on the trail at Gold Eye Lake.

These spots are all in David Thompson Country, named after an explorer, on Highway 11 which leads west into the center of the Rockies, with Banff to the south and Jasper to the north. I have made the loop from Edmonton to Saskatchewan Crossing to Jasper then back to Edmonton, which is a phenomenal trip, but I was content to hang around the country in Nordegg and area this time.

In the next post I will start with one of the stops we made, then go on from there. I am excited to share this with you, as I love this country.